Linda Barnard

Linda Barnard

Award-winning film and travel writer
Travel Media Association of Canada, Society of American Travel Writers, Toronto Film Critics Association
My company is Spellbound: captivating writing


5 places to look for Harry Potter in Edinburgh

We wandered the same cobblestone streets, dark winding passages and graveyard paths here as J.K. Rowling did in the company of professional guide Ross Tillbrook to find links to the magical world of a boy wizard. Here are five. Victoria Street: Slip down the narrow Fisher’s Close off the Royal Mile to a second-floor terrace for the best view of the colourful, curved 19th-century street.
Toronto Star/ Link to Story

Follow in Harry Potter’s tracks to explore the magic of England and Scotland

To take a trip back 20 years with Harry Potter, be open to magic and board a train. After all, a delayed train to London is where writer J.K. Rowling dreamed up the story of a boy wizard that led to Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in 1997. It’s fitting trains are involved in tracking Rowling’s inspirations for seven Harry Potter books and the eight films made from them, taking us to London, Oxford, Edinburgh and the Scottish Highlands to mark the book’s anniversary.
Toronto Star/ Link to Story

Fodor’s Go List 2018: No. 11: Prince Edward Island

Why It’s Wonderful: Prince Edward Island is an irresistible combination of rolling green hills and excellent beaches and seascapes, with bountiful shellfish, a gentle pace and a lively music scene. Link to Story

Stunning views, exotic food, laid-back attitude await you in Oahu

Ken Hirata’s Hawaiian holiday came with a side of inspiration: the native bright purple sweet potatoes would be ideal for producing shochu, the clear liquor that outsells sake in Japan. He went home to Australia, quit his job in finance and returned to his birthplace of Japan, spending three years training under a traditional shochu “master,” who streamlined the 10-year apprenticeship period for Hirata, who was nearing 40.
Toronto Star/ Link to Story

8 Totally Weird Restaurants in Amsterdam

The Dutch have a saying: “Just act normal, that’s already crazy enough.” It’s true of unusual places to eat in this historic city, where the urge to be different comes without pretense. Crazy-different is good, especially when it comes to food. Is peanut butter your jam? Meet the world’s first store dedicated only to PB. Link to Story

Enjoy sports, food and party bike tours in the ‘new’ Detroit

Detroit has always been a sports city, but with the opening of the impressive 20,000-seat Little Caesars Arena, now everything is in one place. The new downtown home of the Detroit Red Wings and the Detroit Pistons (also a concert and event venue) is just a few blocks from the Tigers’ Comerica Park and the Lions’ Ford Field, creating a downtown sports hub.
Toronto Star/ Link to Story

How to go shellfish foraging in P.E.I.

Malpeque Bay, P.E.I. Turns out there’s some truth to that saying about being “happy as a clam.”. On the way to Malpeque Bay to forage for shellfish with PEI Coastal Experiences’ owner, John Martin, the question was irresistible. “The way I see it, a clam lives in a spot all of its life, and when it finds a secure spot, it grows to be a lovely clam and is content to be (there),” said Martin, who seems to know just about everything about Prince Edward Island clams and their shellfish cousins.
Toronto Star/ Link to Story

A prison café is the highlight of modern-day Cartagena

There’s more than bread and water on this prison menu. At Cafe Interno, staffed by some of the 140 inmates in the San Diego women’s penitentiary next door, grilled catch of the day with “farm vegetables” grown in the jail’s garden are served with a side of social justice. The sign on the wall outside reads “second chances” in Spanish, with an arrow pointing to an open cell door.
Toronto Star/ Link to Story

Cool and Unusual Things to do on Your Netherlands Vacation

Go north from Amsterdam, curious traveller, even just across the river IJ (pronounced “eye”) by free ferry from Centraal Station to uncover fun and offbeat experiences to set you apart from other Netherlands visitors. You might be the only Canadian to drop by in weeks, or months, at some of these places.
Canadian Traveller Link to Story

How to spend two days in Abu Dhabi

There were nervous grins in the back seat of the powerful land cruiser when guide Faizal Mohamed posed the question, expertly nudging our vehicle to the crest of a dune in the Al Khatim Desert. A brief pause and we were skidding down the steep slope, shrieking with laughter. The 4x4 roller coaster ride was part of a desert safari about a 45-minute drive and a world away from ultra-modern downtown Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates.
Toronto Star/ Link to Story

Groninger Museum, Groningen

While other art museums may go for grandeur, the Groninger Museum in the Netherlands plays on joy. It’s impossible not to grin at the first sight of this brilliantly colourful, post-modernist gem. All angles, patterns, and colours, it seems to tumble along its small island home in a canal in Groningen, the largest city in the country’s north and about two hours by train from Amsterdam. Link to Story

In Udaipur, tranquility in the shadow of luxurious palaces

With a centuries-old palace as the backdrop for an early morning yoga session beside calm Lake Pichola, Udaipur lives up to its reputation as a place blessed with good vibrations and movie-screen good looks.
Toronto Star/ Link to Story


Linda Barnard

A freelance travel writer for Toronto Star, Fodor's , TravelPulse Canada, Canadian Traveller, PlanetWare, food writer for Edible Toronto and film writer for the Toronto Star, Globe and Mail, Movie Entertainment Magazine and others, I have more than three decades of experience in deadline-driven digital and print journalism. I'm the former movie writer and a staff film critic at the Toronto Star and a National Newspaper Awards winner (Arts & Entertainment) and winner Best International Travel Story, SATW Canadian Chapter. I have extensive experience as a restaurant critic and food, wine and cocktail writer.
My creative content clients include Telefilm Canada, The Globe and Mail and Star Metro Media.
I write eloquent speeches, craft well-written targeted content and can provide media training.